Magician Misty Lee isn't your average performer. Oh sure, she's got a stellar show that features a honey badger (for real) and culls her act from numerous performance styles, but she's also a voice actor and performer of the highest order. Lee travels all the way from Los Angeles to do her thing, namely, blow minds and be cool. We called her up.
Do you have to work hard to overcome the 'magic is dorky' stigma?
I don't know, because I think magic is dorky! When I first got into this, I didn't want to be a quote-unquote 'magician,' because magicians are nerds! But what I did was I found five magicians who were very successful and wonderful thinkers who've been very encouraging but also ass-kickers. I respect the art as an art, but what ended up happening was, because I didn't come from the same emotional place they did, my work has always been different. It became a journey of trying to figure out my flavor and then trying to find the people who like it. The flavor that we bring is not necessarily beloved by the technical guys, but now even they are coming around and saying, 'Yeah, she's pretty fun.' The journey for me has been finding a happy medium of this is my flavor, this is where I fit in the industry and instead of worrying about what other magicians think, I worry about what I think, what the people I care about think, what my audience thinks.
The sub-genrefication of magic has gotten a little out of control. What do you call what you do?
I tell people that I'm a magician and I let them subgenre as appropriate to them. The subgenres kind of boil down to three things: cards and coins, or up close magic, stuff that can fit in a briefcase, or parlor magic, and bigger stuff that's on a stage. In our show, we practice all three of those disciplines, so it would be silly of me to super identify with one genre. Most of what we do falls into parlor magic or stage illusion. On our list is two card tricks, but they would still fall into the parlor magic side. Which one do I love the most? I love them all for different reasons.
You know those people who really just want to know how tricks are done?
I think there are several different kinds of people who go to a magic show. There are people who are like 'No, I don't wanna know because mystery exists!", and there are people who have to know and then there are people who think they know—the internet is full of those. I have found the internet is useful; I'm a gotta-know person. As a young fledgling magician I learned so much from watching the Masked Magician, but unfortunately, the tricks he exposed were not all his, and the same goes for people on the internet. If you invented the trick and you wanna blow it, that's your business. If you want to blow someone else's trick, that's not. As far as doing research, I'm glad it exists. Some of the ideas these people come up with are so contrived and off-base and the truth is so much simpler.